Dr Calum Webb

BA (Hons), MA, PhD

Sheffield Methods Institute

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow

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+44 114 222 7125

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Dr Calum Webb
Sheffield Methods Institute
The Wave
2 Whitham Road
S10 2AH
Understanding child inequalities - Meet Dr Calum Webb

Calum Webb joined the Sheffield Methods Institute as a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow in September 2021, having previously worked as a Research Associate in the Department of Sociological Studies. His research explores socioeconomic inequalities in the child welfare system and their relationship to fiscal and social policy using quantitative research methods. He completed his PhD in Sociology at the University of Sheffield in 2019 as an ESRC-funded White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership student.

His research on child welfare inequalities and the funding of local services for children and young people has been published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Children and Youth Services Review, the Journal of Mixed Methods Research, Child & Family Social Work, and elsewhere. Outside of academic circles, his work has been cited by the National Children’s Bureau, Ofsted, Children England, the British Association of Social Workers, the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, the Department for Education, and other organisations.

Research interests

From 2021-2024 Calum will be leading an innovative new research project as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the British Academy titled “Investment in Prevention and its Systemic Effects (IPSE): Modelling the causal effects of spending in children's services with a whole systems approach.” 

This project will explore how investment in preventative services for children, young people, and their families can create virtuous cycles that reduce child protection intervention and rates of children entering care. It will also explore how these cycles have changed over time and whether some groups of children benefit more than others from the services that are currently funded. This research will help us understand how inequalities in child welfare interventions might emerge from the fiscal policies of national governments and the decisions made about what kind of services to provide.

Previously, Calum was a researcher on the Child Welfare Inequalities Project, a Nuffield Foundation funded project that identified large socioeconomic inequalities in England. The project team’s research highlighted that children in the most deprived 10 per cent of neighbourhoods were ten times more likely to be in care than children in the least deprived 10 per cent of neighbourhoods. 

As part of this project, Calum’s research showed that the most deprived local authorities in England had seen the largest cuts to their expenditure on services intended to help safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under austerity


Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers

Awarding body Project title Funding amount
British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Investment in Prevention and its Systemic Effects: Modelling the causal effects of spending in children’s services with a whole systems approach. (2021) £257,578 (PI)
ESRC Impact Accelerator Account Artificial Intelligence & Social Care: Strengthening Partnerships and Coproducing Priorities in Social Work (2020) £45,173 (PI)
Nuffield Foundation Re‐analysing the CWIP quantitative dataset using multilevel modelling (2019) £35,400 (Co-I)
Sheffield University Student’s Union Understanding the needs of Chinese students on postgraduate taught programmes (2019) £1,000 (PI)
Research England Higher Education Innovation Fund The Child Welfare Inequalities Project App (CWIP App) (2019) £9,981 (PI)
Nuffield Foundation

Identifying and understanding the link between system conditions and welfare inequalities in statutory children’s social care services. (2018)

£263,652 (Consultant)
Nuffield Foundation Identifying and Understanding Inequalities in Child Welfare Intervention Rates (Child Welfare Inequalities Project) (2015) £557,705 (RA)
ESRC Innovation, Impact and Knowledge Exchange Developing a policy learning tool for anti‐poverty policy design and assessment. £12,722 (Co-I)
Teaching interests

Calum is interested in using and developing ways to teach quantitative methods and statistical analysis that make the subject more accessible and open, particularly to those who struggle its mathematical aspects. This includes teaching the fundamentals using real-world research and data examples, interactive activities, and visual explanations of abstract statistical concepts. He is interested in participatory and community-led approaches to quantitative research.

Calum is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Between 2017 and 2020 he taught introductory and intermediate quantitative methods modules for students of Sociology, Social Policy, Occupational Psychology and Social Research

Professional activities and memberships
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the British Academy
  • Member of the Social Policy Association, British Society for Population Studies, and Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society
  • Member of the Cafcass Research Advisory Board
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Technical Advisor to the Department for Education